I’ve been feeling a bit ropy this weekend, so the prospect of a quick return to Pulborough to add the Wood Sandpiper to the on-foot list didn’t appeal. Instead we had a rather shorter and slower 15 mile walk up to Cissbury and Chanctonbury rings. Butterflies abounded on a sunny, but breezy day – very different to the flooded north.
Instead of one bird, I added three butterflies to the on-foot list: Chalkhill Blue, Silver-spotted Skipper and Essex Skipper, which was a nice surprise (I know they’re up there, but I thought separating one from Small Skipper would be beyond me).
My spur of the moment decision to walk to Pulborough on Sunday was looking a bit poor when after an hour scouring the brooks on my own, with rubbish lightweight optics, I had got none of my target species. (Good job I said I had wanted a good walk.) The prospect of a 13 mile walk back empty-handed wasn’t too appealing and I was on the point of ringing Karen up to beg a lift, when the Great White Egret I had hoped for flew across and vanished. A dash down to another viewpoint to find it was unsuccessful for the Egret, but yielded a female Marsh Harrier and then the Green Sandpipers that had been scandalously missing earlier. No lift back for me!
Three more species, added to a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull on Friday afternoon takes my on foot list to 162 for the year, or is it 163? The White Stork that we saw from home last week would be an exciting addition, if it weren’t for the “re”-introduction that is happening 10 miles north of us.
After missing a singing Quail a couple of weeks ago (I arrived about half an hour after it had shut up for the night), it was great to get a call from Nick on Friday telling me he had found another. After a 40 minute dash to Steep Down I could just hear a distant bird delivering its “wet my lips” call, barely audible over my gasps for breath. Bird 158 on the on-foot list for the year. Following the sound at a more leisurely pace I did get to within a few feet of it next to a footpath, but in the dense vegetation it was never going to be seen.
Yesterday we had a walk to the Dover. The birds were largely absent, but the main target was butterflies. We had 20 species in the day, including two species of Fritillaries and our first White Admirals of the year.